Examinations- Not the End of the World

Shreeprakash Sharma| Principal, JNV, Mamit, Mizoram

Shreeprakash Sharma has a teaching experience of over 18years as a Post Graduate teacher of Economics. He is currently the principal of a residential school, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, in Mamit, Mizoram, which is the brainchild of former Prime Minister, Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Shreeprakash Sharma enjoys writing and is a freelancer for a number of magazines in newspapers in both Hindi and English. He has also written for the All India Radio and his articles have been broadcast by AIR Raipur (CG) and AIR Darbhanga (Bihar).



All students aim for good marks in the examinations they take. It is nothing but natural. In fact, this sort of wish is not without any reason either, nor is it bizarre. An old saying goes that, nothing succeeds like success. So, having failed once in getting a good grade and high percentage of marks is considered as having failed in almost all facets of life. But are the facts so? Does a single failure or the inability to rise to a particular standard of marks indicate what we may proverbially call as the holocaust? Is it really the end of the beginning of realisation of all the beautiful dreams of your life? No, not at all.

In fact, the present examination system tests the memory retention capacity of a student. But at the same time what we do not accept so easily is the inherent difference in the intelligence quotient of each student, or rather each person in this world. Amid so many differences in the inclination and aptitude of the students, is it not simply unfair to expect the same trajectory of marks from all those who write the papers?
What we need to understand is one of the much-ignored facts that ‘failure to score high percent of marks is never the end of life’. In fact, low percent of marks and failure to climb up the pinnacle of success may sometimes turn out to be the launching pad for a metamorphosed life, meteoric achievements and the beginning of a promising career if we sincerely go through the following steps -
Who says that marks do not matter? It does, but it does not mean that marks make everything of a student’s career and life. One must understand that the percent of marks is not necessarily the reflection of a student’s holistic personality and natural talent. So even if you fail to score at par with other students, you must not underestimate yourself. Stop considering yourself less-gifted and unfavorably privileged. Always keep your confidence level high.
Examples of such people are galore, who rose to excellence in post and prestige even after having failed to score good marks in various examinations that they took in their lives. They ignored the percent, class, division, rank, and grade. The only thing that they kept in mind was the fact that marks and percentages do matter but are never a matter of life and death. It is never the end of a beautiful career and successful life. They always believed that percent of marks is material but not more vital than the sustenance of life itself.

Getting upset is easier and nothing can be more natural than this when a student fails to achieve the kind of results which he or she had expected. But, getting disturbed and depressed would not do any good to him or her. In fact, failure is the foundation stone for a series of successes.
When reasons for failure are crystal clear, the intensity at which steps are taken to correct them becomes greater. Reformative approach and corrective strategies are essential to tide over the post-failure-stresses and strains.
The much-perceived opinion rules that examination is the test of knowledge of a subject and the percentage of marks is the evaluation thereof. But what happens is that, despite pretty good knowledge of the subjects, students sometimes fail to score good marks. The reason is that scoring good marks is more of a matter of fastidious planning, flawless and strategic preparation than anything else. It is also a matter of expressing and writing your answers very lucidly and exactly on the answer sheets. All these things do not come naturally. For this, students need to practice consistently and religiously.
Running away from home and committing suicide is very common, which is widely reported in the media, as a reaction to bad results or the failure in the examination. In fact, this is a very dangerous trend which calls for serious self-introspection. Who can deny that good scores not only offer a good socio-personal recognition but also proves to be the golden passport for admission to reputed colleges and universities, and for a host of promising career courses across the country?
But what about the careers of those less-privileged and low achievers who fail to score above the long-established and traditionally-determined line of academic excellence, wrought by the so-called brilliant and high scoring students? Results are transient actions that can be corrected and modified over and over again but what about the transient nature of life?
Work hard and be true to yourself. Struggle hard and take pain for the realization of ambitions you have set for your life. Never forget that a single lapse does not mean a permanent loss and an everlasting failure.
While comparing with others, we forget one of the basic genetic facts of humans that no two persons out of nearly 7 billion people in the world can have exactly the same genes and chromosomes. Each individual on this earth is unique in his or her own capacity and nature. Each has been gifted with discreet specialization of human traits and talents which none on the earth can excel and master over. Then, how can we compare the performance of two examinees on the scale of scores and grades achieved in the examination?
It is quite irrational and immensely unfair. That is why comparing oneself with others is always fraught with dangers. A monkey can climb fast and jump easily from one branch of a tree to another, but what about expecting the same from an elephant? The saga of difference in the capabilities of the humans is not at all different from what we call the capacity contrast story of a monkey and an elephant. So, comparing the agility of a monkey with that of a pachyderm is not a realistic approach.
You must realize and respect the inherent natural differences of each individual and stop panicking upon finding others better than yourself in areas where you feel incapable. Marks cannot be the standard yardstick to measure the capacity of all individuals. Stop the practice of cursing and disappointing yourself for no fault of yours, at least not on the ground that you have been awarded lower score than what you had aspired for.
Human life is the by-product of circumstances and the powers beyond our control. What it does mean is, sometimes we do not get the result in proportion to the labor put and struggles suffered. This paradox has been interpreted much differently by different people - some say it is the divine game of fate, some say that is the natural cycle of sorrow and happiness, and still for many of us, it is quite mystic. But it does not mean that one should quit and surrender to the unproven and unseen forces.
The only thing which needs to be done is to recognize your talent and the strengths which can end up making miracles for you. Once you know yourself perfectly and recognise your talents immaculately, then what remains is to labour hard for honing and cultivating the talents to the extent of making you professionally expert, academically superb and surprisingly successful.
The great scientist Albert Einstein had once said that the real education is not the matter of what is written on the pages of a book but what ultimately remains in our memory once we come out of the classrooms. This is the very memory which can be called as the cornerstone of what we become later in the future.
The hidden message in the line is that ‘not everything which is taught is worth learning by rote’. Education, no doubt, means acquiring knowledge but this must not be accomplished at the cost of your mental peace.
This article was originally published in TheTeacher.in magazine in the month of January, 2019.